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American Economic Review: Vol. 93 No. 5 (December 2003)

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Fundamentals, Panics, and Bank Distress During the Depression

Article Citation

Calomiris, Charles W., and Joseph R. Mason. 2003. "Fundamentals, Panics, and Bank Distress During the Depression." American Economic Review, 93(5): 1615-1647.

DOI: 10.1257/000282803322655473

Abstract

We assemble bank-level and other data for Fed member banks to model determinants of bank failure. Fundamentals explain bank failure risk well. The first two Friedman-Schwartz crises are not associated with positive unexplained residual failure risk, or increased importance of bank illiquidity for forecasting failure. The third Friedman-Schwartz crisis is more ambiguous, but increased residual failure risk is small in the aggregate. The final crisis (early 1933) saw a large unexplained increase in bank failure risk. Local contagion and illiquidity may have played a role in pre-1933 bank failures, even though those effects were not large in their aggregate impact.

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Authors

Calomiris, Charles W.
Mason, Joseph R.


American Economic Review


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